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Final Appropriations Action Dependent on Debt Limit Negotiations

Conventional wisdom among Congress watchers is that the Senate is unlikely to take up most of the FY 12 appropriations measures until something is worked out on the national debt limit.  At issue is the fact that the Senate has not passed its budget resolution that sets the general allocation ceilings for the various funding committees.  The House passed its resolution in April (also called 302(b) allocations) that called for $30 billion in cuts and set overall discretionary spending limits at around $1 trillion.  Both the House and Senate are waiting to see what type of deficit reduction language is included in the final debt limit package — as well as spending caps for FY 12 — before advancing their respective legislative packages.  Given the climate of fiscal austerity in Congress, fiscal 2012 spending is almost certain to be below the $1.05 trillion provided for the current year.

Of particular interest to state drinking water programs, the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee has set July 6th as the date to mark up FY 12 appropriations legislation that includes funding for EPA.  In the Senate, informal discussions are in progress between Subcommittee majority and minority staff but it may be September before a package would come before the Subcommittee for consideration.